Hello & Westlawn vs YDS

Discussion in 'Education' started by Mark Robinson, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. sailaweigh
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    sailaweigh Junior Member

    Numerous times - just got a busy signal - stopped after a while. I tried to post to the discussion group and nothing happened. I know they were having trouble with all those spam posts. Maybe they haven't figured out how to stop them?
  2. luckettg
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    luckettg Junior Member

    Any luck yet?
  3. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    I am equally undecided about YDS or Westlawn. I've known about Westlawn for some time had always wanted to enroll. One day I stopped in at the New York firm of Sparkman & Stevens. There I spoke with the head designer and asked about yacht design as a career and Westlawn. He said its a very good school, yet that S&S didn't take graduates right out of school. They preferred someone with a prior specialty in another field like electrical or mechanical engineering. So much for starting at a big firm.

    Recently, finding the YDS site reading it thoroughly I liked what they offer. Its not a theory of yacht design only, but a nuts and bolts education covering realistically what will be needed to get a job or set up a shop and find clients. Separately they also teach CAD/Rhino. Learning to design on a computer these days is essential and I need to learn it.

    Westlawn has been around since the 1930's, is a recognized school, but their curriculum doesn't teach CAD of any kind or where to learn it. Like the rest of you I would appreciate graduating from a known school, but in reality getting out and earning money as a yacht designer is the bottom line. Just being proud of a diploma doesn't pay the bills.

    A few years ago in the journal for the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers (these guys design ships and graduate from places like Webb Institute; true engineers) that the Society was thinking about requiring legislation to require yacht designers to past an exam or be licensed. There was an uproar from top old-time experienced designers because many of the YD greats like Olin Stevens never had a formal YD education and apprenticed their way to greatness. If required, they too would have to pass a test to stay in business. Later I believe the issue was dropped.

    Since yacht design is still an apprentice type career and its truly one's own motivation to learn what you need to succeed then YDS is the choice. They offer internships for students to get experience, build a portfolio and get a job or solo practice. I'm not yet sold on the YDS, but Westlawn while having a good name, appears to only teach theory. I graduated law school years ago and now just hate the field. Law schools believe me teach theory and students graduate knowing zilch. They then learn on the job, take continuing education classes and hire paralegals who know what papers to file, draft, etc. People hire lawyers every day and never ask "where did you go to school", but they do ask what kind of work have you done.

    Westlawn does have some damn good credentials and graduates, yet I don't want to spent $10K, four years and graduate not being up to speed for a job or a solo practice of my own. This is solely why I have held off for a few years from pursuing my dream. I may love to design yachts, but earning a living is the bottom line.

    YDS school, on their website, says that the state of Maine has never had a distance education school before therefore Maine has yet to ever issue YDS an approval for a distance education. Westlawn on the other hand in Connecticut does have an approval for a distance education school. Lacking this academic credential does leave mixed feelings about choosing YDS.

    Lastly, if only YDS used the name MacNaughton School of Yacht Design and put that on their diplomas then I think I'd feel a little better knowing that I'm not going to frequently hear from colleagues "you graduated from where?" YDS just sounds like and unfinished sentence like "what time is it". Can't Tom MacNaughton be proud enough to put his name on it?

    Tracking down a YDS graduate, if any exist, is a good idea. Otherwise I can't decide either.
  4. chandler
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Location: U.s. Maine

    chandler Senior Member

    I would venture you will never find anyone who has actually graduated from YDS.
    I ordered one lesson from YDS and some drafting equipment. One item I recieved, an 18" scale, was a used scale from a drafting machine, it had a chip in it, the chip didn't bother me, the fact that it was from a used drafting machine did.
    I also ordered a copy of Tom's scantlings for strip built boats. Sometime later I asked for the directions to apply this to a spread sheet. He seemed to have no record of my buying the product, and told me I could not have the information.
    I certainly wouldn't want to sway you one way or another, but westlawn offers a degree of some sort, have you ever considered the landing school?
  5. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    Chandler, I emailed Tom MacNaughton yesterday with some questions and in particular if it was true that no one has graduated YDS yet landed jobs before hand, and as mentioned on another thread by a YDS student that turn around time on corrected assignments could take more than one month. I hope he'll reply, but from what I've been reading here I wonder. Scott
  6. chandler
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Location: U.s. Maine

    chandler Senior Member

    Have you looked into "The Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design" in Arundel Me.
    They have separate programs in boatbuilding, design, and systems. It would be my choice if I had the money and time.
    Thier programs are full time for one school year, 40 weeks with vacations and holidays, 1600 hr. of class room for design I believe.
    It's expensive,$16,000/yr range, but they have an excellent reputation.
    website is:www.landingschool.edu
  7. Mark Van
    Joined: Jul 2002
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    Mark Van Junior Member

    I've been taken the YDS Rhino course, and so far it is good. The turn-around times have been averaging about 1 week, which is a bit annoying when the lessons have been taking about 1 day to do. I just ordered the first two lessons for the regular YDS course, so I will be taking both courses simultainiously. I think once I get into the more involved lessons, the turn around time won't be so annoying. I started Westlawn about 10 years ago, and wasn't to happy with it. It seemed like they were training me to work for some corporation like Bayliner, which I have no interest in. Perhaps with Dave Gerr running it, it has improved. YDS costs less than half of Westlawn, and I like the idea that you pay per lesson, instead of in big chunks.
  8. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    As a follow up to my last post and Mark Van's post, I finally just telephoned YDS and spoke with Tom MacNaughton directly. He was more than happy to answer any questions I had. I'm now satisfied with what YDS school is about as described on their website and after speaking with Tom. I now feel that YDS is a good choice for me. I also like the idea of the separate Rhino course offered. Therefore I will enroll at YDS soon, plus jointly take the Rhino course. I too had once enrolled at Westlawn, it was 10 years ago. After getting through most of the first year, plus paying for it I then just got too caught up in my full-time job to complete the course. YDS to me will be like a distance apprenticeship with Tom. Since there aren't any nearby YD firms or boat manufacturers within commuting distance for me, learning the trade to become a solo designer is what I need; with YDS I will learn that. Professional organizations associated with Westlawn which give them their prestiege I can always go join separately on my own and be a YDS graduate. So because of the way the YDS program is structured and Tom Mac Naughton's philosphy of yacht design it is now possible for me to achieve the career I have always wanted. The pay as you go is a nice feature too. Thanks again Tom.
  9. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Willallison Senior Member

    I know little of the actual content of the YDS course, other than the 'promotional' material that I saw when I was researching which school to 'join'.
    At the end of the day, it really depends what you aim to wind up with. If you simply want to learn how to design boats, then YDS may well fit your needs. If you want a widely recognised qualification, however, then Westlawn really is the only (distance ed) choice.

  10. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I have lesson 1 and 2 laying around here, they are OK, but I have always too much work to do :-(
    My reason for ordering these lessons was that while we learnt a lot of ship design, stability, engineering etc at university, nothing was related to small boats, mainly ships and offshore structures in steel or concrete.
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